A match between Swiss football teams Young Boys and FC Basel was held up because of a protest against esports, in which tennis balls and games controllers were hurled onto the pitch.
As reported by the Associated Press, the protest was pre-planned and began early on in the match, with the referee halting play as it continued for a couple of minutes. The point of the protest was to highlight the hardcore football fans’ anger with the Swiss football association’s push to create more esports franchises in the league.
Fans unveiled a large pause icon banner, along with another saying ‘Pause angemeldet von Ostkurve Bern ‘ – basically ‘Pause declared by Ostkurve Bern’, that being Young Boys’ stadium. The visiting FC Basel fans unfurled a supportive banner of their own.
The game was held up briefly while the debris was cleared from the field, before Young Boys went on to beat Basel 7-1. Which is the kind of score you tend to see on FIFA, but we won’t dwell on that.
A statement on the Ostkurve Bern Facebook fan page added some detail concerning the protest, pointing out that the Swiss FA’s decision to implement its own esports league requires teams to form their own esports team – or they won’t be permitted to participate in the top division.
“For a few months, e-sport has been constantly addressing the media and stadiums,” the statmenet – via the magic of auto-translate – reads, “In March 2019, the Swiss Football League will start its own league; this has nothing to do with our sport and the values of our association! This is all about profit!”